In a world where digital technology is radically transforming business and society, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand the core of digital transformation and the basics of AI and machine learning. Pedro Janela, CEO and founder of WYgroup, tells us a little more about his area of expertise, digital transformation.
Pedro Janela, what is your definition of Digital transformation?
Digital transformation has the purpose to understand how technology can be used to simplify everyday life for human beings. To do so, we need to have a better understanding of human basic instincts to be able to develop digital tools that can fulfill these basic instincts. In a way, the main point of digital transformation is to make human beings lazier in their interactions with their environment. Digital transformation, when done right, allows you do any action faster, better and even feel good about it.
So, what do you share with EMBA students during these two days?
We start with the basics and do an overview of facts and figures in the field of digital technology. It is important to understand that technology grows exponentially. This means that every technological development that we think is impossible today, could be done tomorrow! We also look at the key basics of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning. In short, the core of this course is to learn how to optimize and innovate the customer’s journey with digital transformation.
Digital transformation, when done right, allows you to do any action faster, better and even feel good about it.
Can you tell us what the current digital trends are?
There are 3 trends that we can observe. The first one is that every company in digital business is trying to use AI to effectively understand how to predict their clients’ next needs, based on their past interactions. The second trend to understanding how to use social media by placing advertising and content effectively to focus on the aspect of pre-purchase. And the last trend is called ‘the network effect’. The idea is to create such an amazing product in terms of customer experience that the consumers themselves will advertise the product in their social and digital environment and bring in other clients.
If this is the current situation, what do you foresee for the next ten years?
I don’t know what we will be able to do in the future but I think there are three aspects of digital transformation that will never cease to advance. First, the processing power will always increase. Second, we will be able to connect with one another even faster. And third, the interface will probably evolve in such a way that we will no longer need to interact with devices. I mean, it has already started with apps like Facebook or Instagram; the algorithm shows us the next content it thinks we want to see. And usually, it's right!
Recently, you told Eco, an online economic journal, that we are at the beginning of the fifth industrial revolution. Can you tell us a little more about this?
To me, the fifth industrial revolution is about life sciences and biosciences. The competitive power generated by discoveries in genomics and advances in decoding the human mind and body has given birth to the 5th industrial revolution. The first pandemic took 27 years to develop a vaccine. The underlying effect of this was the development of technology that now allows us to decode the genome of a virus quicker and create a solution to neutralize the virus. This process has been made possible by the digital revolution of course. But, now a new world is opening up! We will soon be eating laboratory food, such as synthetic meat. It will be just as tasty but there will be no animal involved. We will certainly be able to develop proteins that are better for our health. In fact, pharmaceuticals will develop even faster because we are now able to understand their impacts.
Pedro Janela, 49, is the founder and CEO of WY group, the largest independent digital transformation and customer experience consulting group in Portugal. Pedro Janela founded his company when he was only 27. He has a background in technical engineering and IT. WYgroup currently employs 350 people and has offices in Portugal, Europe and in the United States. He is one of the guest professors in our 2021-2022 EMBA program.
Where are you based?
WY is based in Lisbon. We also have an office in Porto and a sales office in Boston because 30% of our billings come from the United States. And I live in Oeiras, which is the Portuguese riviera between Cascais and Lisbon. My office faces the beach and actually looks like a beach house with a loose and fun environment. We built it this way because we wanted everyone to feel at home while working there.
We understand it was your first time at the HEG-Fribourg, what do you think of it?
I was very impressed by the quality of the buildings of the HEG, the classrooms are outstanding. I teach in top business schools in Portugal and what you have here is pretty amazing!